Skip to Main Content

Copyright Primer: Fair Use

Information about copyright and fair use

Fair Use

Fair use allows for use in research, education, commentary, news, parody, or reporting. It's important to know not all educational use is "fair use".


balanaced scale of justiceThere are four factors for you to weigh when considering using copyrighted content.

  1. Purpose and Character of the Use
    Personal or educational use favors fair use. Use for commercial purposes does not favor fair use.
  2. Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used
    Using a small amount of a work favors fair use. Using a large amount or the core idea of a work does not favor fair use.
  3. Nature of the Copyrighted Work
    Factual works favor fair use. Creative, artistic or fictional works do not favor fair use.
  4. Market Effect of the Use
    No effect on the market value of the work (the copyright holder will not lose money) your use favors fair use. A negative effect on market value (the copyright holder will lose money) your use does not favor fair use.

Examples of Fair Use

Limited photocopying of books and journals.

Viewing a documentary film in the classroom.

Scanned musical scores (in publication) posted to an instructor's Canvas shell.

facebook  twitter   blog youtube maps